Saturday, February 28, 2009

New Math

New Math is a well-designed, simple website about concepts as math equations run by the mysterious CRAIG DAMRAUER. Craig claims to bake his ideas fresh every monday. Simple, delightful. Some of the ideas are rather half-baked, but I appreciate the fresh visual appeal.

As a tangential aside, I always have trouble spelling "equation." It makes sense that there is a T there, because the two sides equaTe but it's weird that everyone pronounces it equaSION. Like an invasion of equal signs. Sigh. I digress. Enjoy!

(From sorry, I forgot)

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Classic Tie Knots

The Classic Tie Knots is an article on the Ben Silver site that teaches you how to properly tie a tie. They show you how to do the Ascot, the Bow Tie, the Cross knot, the Four-in-hand, the Half-Windsor, the Windsor, the Prince Albert, and the Small Knot. They even have videos for the imagination-impaired.

Makes me want to go get a tie and practice.

(From Metafilter)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Academic Earth

Academic Earth is a website that gathers thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars.

From their FAQ:
"What is Academic Earth?
Academic Earth is working to bring together the best available content across many subjects and distribute it in an engaging and useful way to learners worldwide.

How many videos are available on Academic Earth?
As of this writing, there are over fifteen hundred videos from MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. We are adding more every day. Some of these are grouped into courses, which each contain anywhere from 4 to 50 lectures.

Can I get credit for these courses?
No - but feel free to learn as much as you'd like.

Can I download copies of lectures?
Yes, when the "Download to iPod" option appears you can download a QuickTime version of the lecture. Just right click on the "Download to iPod" link and select "Save Target As..." or the equivalent for your browser.

Can you skip ahead during lectures?
You can skip ahead in lectures using the progress bar at the bottom of the video. However, right now, you need to wait for the video to load before you can do this. (Watch the dark grey bar). We're working on improving this for future releases.

How do grades work?
Lectures start out with a grade of B. From there the grade is an average of the grades that our users have given it. Course grades are based on the grades given to the lectures in that course. Highly rated content will show up first in browse results and in the Top Rated sections in our homepage. The more people provide feedback, the better the ratings will get."

Sample lecture by Guy Kawasaki:

The blurb for it:
"Kawasaki thinks that companies like Nordstrom, Audi, and Nike make the world a better place. His advice: don't start a business because you think that's what's hot. You should study and do what you love, he says. He can't promise you that the money will come, he does promise that if you start a company simply for the money, you will probably end up miserable."
(From Metafilter)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lunch Bag Art

Lunch Bag Art is a Tumblr blog by a talented dad who draws on his kid's lunchbags every day. Things like Daria, and Toad, and such. He draws those during his lunch break. And apparently he takes artsy photos of them as well.

Do those kids know how lucky they are?!?!? Hands down, coolest lunch recepticles EVAR.
(From Metafilter)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Your Family May Once Have Been A Different Color

Your Family May Once Have Been A Different Color is a story by Robert Krulwich from Morning Edition. It's about how, according to Nina Jablonski (head of the Penn State Department of Anthropology), skin color can change over relatively few generations, without intermarriage.

She estimates 100 generations or less. I have no idea whether this is credible or not, but it certainly is interesting.

(From NPR)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Wiki Trivia

Wiki Trivia is an online trivia game by Alex Ksikes and Philipp Lenssen made from Wikipedia entries. Basically, it pulls up quotes from a wikipedia page, and replaces defined nouns with questions marks. You have to guess what is being talked about.

It's fun, for like, 5 seconds. Enjoy.

(From Metafilter)

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Racialicious is a blog by Carmen Van Kerckhove on race, pop culture media, and diversity education. Latoya Peterson is Editor of Racialicious and Carmen Van Kerckhove is founder and Publisher.

They usually have well-thought out posts on race and race-relations. For example, here is a long long LONG exerpt dissecting the movie Gran Torino:
"In Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood plays a bitter old man who’s basically the only white person left in a run-down neighborhood somewhere in the Midwest. He (reluctantly, at first) gets to know his Hmong neighbors, and ends up getting intricately involved in their lives, as they deal with issues caused by a local Hmong gang that some of their relatives are a part of.

There are plenty of things about the movie that might make for great posts on Racialicious:

1. Like most Hollywood movies that are about a community of people of color, Gran Torino features a white protagonist who not only saves the day, but also has the most layers of complexity to his personality.

2. As the first major Hollywood film about Hmong Americans, how did it do at depicting this community? Does the exposure of Hmong culture and the opportunity for Hmong actors outweigh the possible inaccuracies and negative representations? (See some of the commentary about this on AsianWeek.)

3. Clint Eastwood’s character’s constant racist remarks serve as a running joke in the movie. Just because he uses outdated and blatantly un-P.C. language with an “equal-opportunity discrimination” approach, is it OK to use this deeply offensive language as comic relief?

But I don’t really want to write about those things. I want to write about another reaction I had.

Of course I’ve seen other movies involving gangs, shootings, and/or rape. But this one hit me harder. After seeing it, I couldn’t stop worrying about the Hmong family depicted in the movie. I think there were a few reasons that the gang violence and the rest of the plot made such a big impact on me:

One reason is that the gang members and family affected were all Asian. I suppose I had heard of the existence of Asian American (or even Hmong American) gangs, but it’s easy to forget. Because of the media I’ve been exposed to my whole life, I usually make the assumption that street gangs are mostly made up of African Americans and Latinos, and then I also hear about “organized” crime—the Italian mafia, Chinese mafia, etc. (I’m pretty sure there’s a fine line between gangs and organized crime anyway, and I wonder how much racist assumptions factor in to that distinction.)

The gang activity in the movie was disturbing because it was relatively unexpected. My girlfriend pointed out that in the beginning of the movie, the neighborhood where it takes place doesn’t seem like a dangerous neighborhood. I think that’s because the neighborhood isn’t the stereotypical dangerous neighborhood usually depicted in films—which would be a black or Latino neighborhood in a densely populated urban area. In Gran Torino, the first impressions the viewers get of the neighborhood are of a white (Polish American) family gathering at one house, and then of a Hmong family gathering at the house next door. White and Asian families coming together around home-cooked food on the weekends, in their two-story houses with lawns, doesn’t seem to have much to do with criminal activity. But of course, that’s because the movie scenes we’re accustomed to tell us otherwise.

Another thing that made the setting less stereotypical was that it took place in the Midwest (I’m not sure where exactly). And rather than showing us the culturally homogeneous setting that we’re used to seeing and that’s become synonymous with the Midwest (except for Chicago), we see an extremely diverse neighborhood, in which the main character is quickly becoming, or already is, a racial minority as a white person. Indeed, a little casual research showed me that Minnesota and Wisconsin have the largest populations of Hmong Americans along with California."

Oh the things I didn't know! They also published a counterpoint.

A shorter exerpt of the critique of He's Just Not That Into You:
"Minorities are literally background color - people who move through the white circles of the leads, but rarely stick. (The exceptions are Mary’s coworkers at the fictional Blade, played by Wilson Cruz and Leonardo Nam. I’ll refer everyone to Queerty’s take on those two.) When you see blacks, it’s Frangela (more on that in a bit), the black waiter serving Gigi and Connor’s table, or the black waiter who works at Alex’s bar. When you see Latin@s in the movie, they are in the Army, or working on the homes of wealthy whites who are renovating. At one point, Ben tries to blame all the 'undocumented workers' currently re-doing their home for some cigarettes Janine found. Janine also speaks dismissively to Javier, the head contractor on their home, before she has a breakdown about her husband’s deception. (Javier, to his character’s credit, shows his mastery of the English language by pointing out that the question/statement Janine posed didn’t have the proper inflection to be a question, and noted her excessive use of prepositions.)"
(From TJ, from a backlink from TOTI)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Crisis of Credit

Crisis of Credit is a video from Jonathan Jarvis, a graduate tudent at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. The project was completed as part of his thesis work in the Media Design Program. In his words, "The goal of giving form to a complex situation like the credit crisis is to quickly supply the essence of the situation to those unfamiliar and uninitiated. "  The topic is still complex, but the figures are appealing. He does good work with great visual impact.  The old-school sound and narration are awesome, and the heart-beat crescendo unnerving. Love it.  

(From buzzfeed)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?

Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide? is a spectacularly good TED talk about the nature of creativity by Amy Tan. Amy, of course, wrote the Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God's Wife and The Hundred Secret Senses.

Her talk is laced with interesting pictures and metaphors. Totally worth your 18 minutes. Also, I did not know she had temporal lobe seizures.

(From your Mom)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook.

Oh Crap. My Parents Joined Facebook. is a blog for people whose parents joined Facebook and the teeming millions who like to make fun of them. For some reason, all of the quotes from the kids are in crowded black letters with white outlines and a drop shadow. And encoded as pictures. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Has it happened to you? Sure happened to meeeeeeee. Fun.

(From Laughing Squid )

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The:DISH (Topanga comes back!)

The:DISH is a TV show hosted by Danielle Fishel (better known as Topanga Lawrence from Boy Meets World). It's super trashy and super-low budget. She's done so well!
Buzzfeed describes it as a "lady-friendly version of The Soup for The Style Network."

My first thoughts were first of all... Topanga's real last name is Fishel? That sounds like a made-up garden instrument. You know. Rake, shovel, fishel. I digress.

Second of all... This is what her plans are: "When she's not doing The Dish, Danielle can be found studying for her degree in psychology (with a focus in marriage and family therapy) or hanging with her dog, Anna, a Maltese who does all kinds of cool tricks." Good luck, Topanga!

Click through for the videoes.
(From Buzzfeed)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If I Made a Commercial for Trader Joe's

If I Made a Commercial for Trader Joe's is a Youtube video by Carl’s Fine Films. Basically, it's a love ode to Trader Joe’s set to Tom Jobim's "Águas de Março" (Waters of March). The no-budget video was clearly shot on a Palm Treo.

Simple, soothing, I love it. Makes me miss living by a Trader Joe's.

(From Laughing Squid)

Monday, February 16, 2009

This is Why You're Fat

This is Why You're Fat is an awful, awful blog about the most fattening foods you didn't even imagine possible. Like oreos with extra filling as tall as the Chrysler building, and doughnuts stuffed with sloppy joe meat. Good luck eating again.

(From JenK, and Metafilter)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

David After Dentist

David After Dentist is a Youtube video of 7 year-old David who had an extra tooth removed in the summer of 2008. David is still feeling the effect of the dentist drugs, and is vocal about it. I don't know how to feel about this video, but to date 8 million people have seen it. (Or 1 million people people and 7 million spam bots. The data is shaky).

The Wall Street Journal interviewed the father about the controversial Youtube video. From the WSJ interview:
"David’s father, also named David DeVore, says his son was safe the entire time and finds the video very funny. Mr. DeVore says he filmed his son to help ease his fear of doctor’s appointments. 'I was trying to teach him that the anticipation is probably much worse than the actual event,' Mr. DeVore said. 'This might not have been the right case to give an example.'

Mr. DeVore, who had just gotten a small video camera and still carries it around with him, says David was very nervous going into the surgery that day. Mr. DeVore filmed him going into the appointment, stayed there with him during the procedure, and then carried him out of the office to the car.

As the anesthesia wore off, a woozy David tried to make sense of it all. His heavy head swinging from side to side, he says things such as 'Is this real life?' and 'Is this going to be forever?' At one point, with wide eyes, David declares, 'I can’t see anything' and then lifts himself off of his seat, lets out an atrocious scream before wilting back down. David also tells his father, 'You have four eyes' and asks repeatedly if he got stitches.

Of the taping he says, 'I felt bad doing it but I had tears coming out of my eyes after it was over because it was just hilarious.' He showed the video to his wife and David that evening, both of whom found it as funny as he did. Mr. DeVore also posted it on Facebook to share with other relatives. "
Now a parody: David after Divorce.
(From Laughing Squid)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ninja Ropes Extreme
is an online game, where you, the ninja, must cross obstacles by sending out and swinging from ninja ropes.

According Appscout, it was featured in the DVD of the Dr. Horrible sing-along blog,
"About halfway through the commentary, Jed Whedon, Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris sing an ode to an iPhone Web game called "Ninja Ropes Extreme," which they all played during filming and which brought them all together."


(From Justin, Dr. Horrible).

Friday, February 13, 2009

Important Things With Demetri Martin

Important Things with Demetri Martin is a show on Comedy Central that debuted today (okay techincally yesterday). Anyway, finally, the kid gets his own show!

Previously mentioned, Demetri.

(From The Comic's Comic, Buzzfeed)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Remnants

The Remnants is a pilot by John August for a sitcom with Ze Frank. Basically a bunch of guys and two girls are left over after an apocalyptic disaster. The creators explain this clip:

"Two minutes from the middle of the pilot for The Remnants, written and directed by John August. Starring Justine Bateman, Michael Cassidy, Ben Falcone, Ze Frank, Ernie Hudson, and Amanda Walsh.

It was shot during the WGA strike in February 2008, using the SAG internet agreement.

The project is currently in development with 60Frames in association with NBC/U, so it could become a series at some point. Either way, we had a good time making it."


(From Dan Z.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

F*** My Life

F*** My Life is a very plain, text-heavy website for all your mundane, sad sad stories. Anything that would cause a reasonable person to exclaim, "F*** My Life" is game.

"Today, my boyfriend was tapping on my thigh to the beat of the music when we were driving to dinner. When I asked him what he was doing he replied, 'Just watching the ripples.' FML
#22681 (6) - 02/10/2009 at 10:11pm by thunder thighs

Today, I was in the car with a group of my girl friends discussing sexual experiences when I looked down and realized my Blackberry had dialed the family I babysit for and had left a five minute voicemail. FML
#22263 (6) - 02/10/2009 at 8:46pm by Embarrassed

Today, I got this HUGE package at my college dorm from my parents with candy, chips, canned soup and all these goodies. When I called my mom to thank her, she replied 'We got rid of your cat, Annie'. FML
#22256 (6) - 02/10/2009 at 8:44pm by melissae "
You can opine on the pitifulness of the quotes by clicking either "I agree, your life is f***ed" OR "You deserved that one."

(From Guy Danus )

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The $timator

The $timator is a website that calculates how much your blog is worth, in USD.

Just another fun little personality quiz for your site. Seems like a lot of work for appraising a blog though. I mean, since USD are now worth 2 piles of rocks, without any calculation I can tell you that your blog is work 1/50th of 2 piles of rocks. Enjoy!
(From Buzzfeed)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Top 10 Moments Caught on Google Maps Street View

Top 10 Moments Caught on Google Maps Street View is an article on URLesque detailing the top ten moments caught by the google maps car.

(From Buzzfeed)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age: A New Model for the Workplace

Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age: A New Model for the Workplace is long-titled video of Pixar University's Randy Nelson explaining what schools must do to prepare students for jobs in new media. It's interesting how he says NASA looked for people who had failed and turned it around, rather than people who had simply avoided failure. That's an interesting quality.

(From Kottke)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Barenaked Ladies "One Week" Parody

Barenaked Ladies "One Week" Parody is a self-explanatory video by CollegeHumor. This reminds me of when I used to have a life.  Sadly, I think most of the BNL lyrics in my head got pushed out by self-made raps about the homunculus.

(From CollegeHumor)

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Can Digg It

I Can Digg It is a article by Farhad Manjoo about why MrBabyMan from is the king of all social media. According to Fahad, since joining the site in December 2005, MrBabyMan, "has submitted about 12,000 links; more than one-quarter—3,394 links as of Monday morning—have been voted to the front page. That works out to about three front-page stories per day."

Exerpt of the article, illustrated with said video, above:

"Last week, the CBS affiliate in Hartford, Conn., reported on a new lead in the case of Molly Bish, a teenager who was abducted and murdered nine years ago. Tragic story, hilarious local-news blooper: Just as the anchor announced, 'The possible suspect, Rodney Stanger, seen here ...' viewers' screens flashed to a mug shot of a hamster carrying a clapperboard, under a title reading, 'Cold Case Suspect?' The hamster's expression was delicious—his small mouth and sunken eyes seemed to plead, 'Save me, I was framed!' Naturally, someone recorded the station's mistake and uploaded the clip to YouTube. There, it was spotted by Andrew Sorcini, a 40-year-old film editor who lives in Los Angeles and is better known online as MrBabyMan, his moniker on the user-voted news site Digg. On Saturday, the clip hit Digg's front page, winning more than 5,000 votes.


MrBabyMan possesses a talent that's particularly valuable in an era of information overload. You can think of him as a one-man Google—he scours the Web in search of links you love—though a better comparison might be to that of an older archetype, the tabloid editor with an eagle eye for a story of mass appeal." 


(From Slate)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Peta Banned Superbowl Ad

Peta Banned Superbowl Ad is an exercise in ridiculous. See it here in the 31-second Youtube video, where tries to convince you to go veg by showing women about to get it on with veggies. Obviously, this was a successful publicity stunt.

The spa-soup is the best part of this ad. You know what I like as a topping on my soups? Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Mmm-mmm good.

(From everyone and their mom)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Weekend Update: Angelina Jolie

In case you missed it, SNL's Abby Elliott did an impersonation of Angelina Joline. She totally looks like her, it's insane. Check it. Weekend Update: Angelina Jolie.
(From Buzzfeed)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shia LaBeouf in "No No No NOo"

Shia LaBeouf in "No No No NOo" is a Youtube video of that guy from the Transformers movie (Shia LaBeouf) saying No No No No a bunch of times in a row. I had no idea how often he repeated it, until this Youtube video came up as a conversation topic at a party. And there you go, low-brow cocktail party topic for you.

(From Chris S. at the Superbowl Monday party.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pepsi PepSuber Commercial

I don't know about you guys, but I had 4 tests today, so me and a bunch of friends just came back from Superbowl Monday. We managed to dodge the results and commercial water-cooler talk until the evening, which is both a success and a testament to how sad our lives have become.

The only reason I watch the Superbowl every year is for the commercials, and I like this one:
Pepsi PepSuber was the 2009 Pepsi Superbowl Commercial. I liked it because it was so ridiculously wrapped up in its own inside-jokey pop-referrence essence. To get it you had to have seen 1) MacGuyver 2) The SNL skit parodying MacGuyver, "MacGruber" 3) this parody parodying the parody. Someone in our group had watched none of those things, and was utterly confused. It's kind of a ridiculous idea to throw out such a low-budget looking-ad that is only intelligible to 50 people on a high-priced national TV spot, which is maybe why I liked it. Just plain irreverent.

In sum, I concluded that: 1) it's harder to get the smell of deep fried chicken off your clothes, than it is to get the smell of eau-de-cadaver-and-formaldehyde off your clothes (gross!) 2) The Cardinal's symbol looks like the 3rd ventricle of the brain. 3) Dont' watch sports after taking tests.

(From your mom.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Smart Grid

Smart grid is GE sub-website about the Smart Grid, or an updated power grid they launched. Basically, alternative energy can travel well beyond its previous 100 mile radius, and it's more efficient. It's totally intensive to load, but also totally pretty. There are shiny spinny things and so you should see it.

It's so nice, I have a feeling Jack Donaghy (GE's Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming) is behind this. 

My octagenarian computer doesn't have a webcam, but let me know if the "How It Works Section" works. My friend Christina says it's amaaaaaaaazing.

(From my friend Christina)